Interview with ITF athlete Jalyn Croft 4th Dan

Meet Jalyn Croft a WKC Korean Forms World Champion, who started out inspired by a Halloween costume. Strongly inspired, she convinced her parents to start her up at a local Karate club. She later transcended to ITF Taekwondo.

“My martial arts life started in 2001 at the age of 8. My brother dressed up as Chuck Norris for Halloween one year and ended up keeping the costume. I wore it around the house all the time and really wanted my own karate uniform so my parents finally decided to put me in karate. I didn’t make a transition into taekwondo until 2005 when the school that I trained at as a kid closed down and they sent us to a Taekwondo school because they knew the owners. It was a rough transition between arts but looking back on it I’m glad it happened.”

Motivation changes, at first a new belt is a very common motivator. However, it rarely stands alone, and as we develop, our motivation often comes from new things as we discover them. For Jalyn competitions caught her interest, but in the lack of opportunity to compete in ITF within the states, she started to compete in the Korean Forms divisions at Open Karate tournaments. 

“A lot of things have motivated me to keep training. For the first 6 or 7 years, I was motivated by the belts. I wanted the next color rank and then, of course, wanted my black belt and first degree and so on. After second degree I realized that there was so much time between belts that I needed something else to motivate me to keep training and that’s when I started competing. My technique got so much better once I started competing in forms competitions. I competed regularly for about 4 years which kept me very motivated to train. I am now focusing on instructing (I teach 4-7-year-olds) which is a challenge and is constantly pushing me to get better. I am also focused on growing my martial arts social media. A lot of things have kept me motivated throughout the years.”

“My favorite part of taekwondo is how it is a never-ending journey. You never learn it all or master every technique, there is always more to learn or improve on.”

In her early years within ITF Taekwondo, no one in her Taekwondo club or around her ever talked about competitions. Maybe, therefore, this for Jalyn is her biggest achievement.

“I look at competition in general as my biggest achievement. I grew up in a school that never talked about competition. I found a competition near me on the internet and convinced my parents to take me to watch it. I was memorized by and it and knew then that I wanted to compete. I went back to my school and told them that I had seen a competition and I wanted to do that. They pretty much said “good luck”. I started studying youtube videos of competitions and trying to make my forms look like theirs. I trained on my own for the next 5 years before I actually got up the nerve to try and compete. It was a rocky start, I came in last for a very long time but I was learning from every competition until I eventually went on to win WKC nationals and worlds. Not one trophy or award stands out as my biggest accomplishment but the fact that I got so far in competition on my own is what stands out to me.”

Having goals and dreams are a big deal of staying focused, and being able to inspire others in their martial arts journey is now the agenda for Jalyn.

“My goals for the future include becoming a better instructor and growing the class that I teach and also growing my personal social media. I want to grow my Instagram and Youtube so that I can reach more people and help or motivate them in their martial arts journey.”

A bit of advice for you, who wants to try out Taekwondo!

“My best advice for someone who wants to try taekwondo is to just do it. You are never too old or young to try something new. Taekwondo is for everyone. Don’t compare yourself to other people. You don’t always have to be better than someone else, you just need to be the best that you can be.”

Jalyn Croft – Student, Instructor, Competitor and NFPT certified personal trainer.
Age: 25
Rank: 4th Dan Black Belt

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